At its meeting last night, the Hi-Desert Water District Board of Directors received a preliminary estimate for four options for property tax assessments facing property owners in the three phases of the proposed sewer project. The board will also be faced with the decision of using a contractor who can build the sewer system in two years, or taking on the project itself for less money over five years. Managing editor Tami Roleff was at the meeting and files this report…
Scenarios 1 and 3 are outsourcing the construction to a contractor who can build the project in two years, with grants totaling 10 percent of the cost (Scenario 1), and 5 percent of the cost (Scenario 3). Scenarios 2 and 4 are if Hi-Desert Water District builds the project in five years, with 10 percent and five percent grants, respectively. The interest rate for a state loan for all scenarios is 1.5 percent. The assessments would be lower if the water district qualifies for a .5 percent interest rate.
Depending on several factors, such as whether the Phase 1 property owner has developed or undeveloped land, how much grant money the district receives, and whether the water district hires a contractor to build the sewer in two years or does it itself in five years, the one-time Phase 1 assessment for a single family home could range from about $13,700 to $17,400, with multiple family residences and mobile homes paying less (Multi-family homes would pay .72 of the amount; mobile homes, .60. Commercial properties would be assessed based on the water usage over a year). The cost could be even lower if the water district decides to build the sewer project itself. Director Dan Munsey wasn’t sure the lower cost, and longer construction timetable, would be worth it. “The time and liability of doing the work in house has got to prove to be a greater benefit than the cost savings…. I’d almost be willing to pay a couple more dollars to get it done and move onto the next stage.” Property owners in Phases 2 and 3 would be assessed between $3,800 and $4,600 (with calculations for multi-family homes, mobile homes, and commercial properties), with a second assessment coming when the sewer project begins in their phase, set for 2019 for Phase 2, and 2022 for Phase 3. The assessments could go lower, as the estimates were calculated using an interest rate of 1 ½ percent, while the board is still hopeful it can get a ½ percent interest rate. These numbers do not include the property owner’s estimated cost of $2000 to connect their residence to the sewer in the street. But first residents must approve a ballot measure, set for late this summer, to establish the assessment districts and tax themselves for the sewer project.
Twentynine Palms fire fighters were called to a car fire in the early morning hours today. According to Fire Chief Jim Thompson, about 3:30 a.m., a fire started burning a Chevy Malibu under a metal carport at an apartment complex in the 6300 block of Bagley Avenue. A Mitsubishi Eclipse parked next to the Malibu had exterior damage from heat and flames; the metal carport also was scorched. Firefighters knocked down the flames in about five minutes. The Sheriff’s Department is investigating the cause of the blaze.
A Morongo Valley man was arrested early Tuesday morning, accused of severely neglecting his elderly mother. According to Sheriff’s Sergeant Steve Wilson, Neville Chung, 58, and his sister brought their 93-year-old mother to the emergency room at Hi-Desert Medical Center about 9 p.m. Monday night because she was unresponsive. After examining the woman, the attending physician immediately called deputies to report a severe case of neglect, with bed sores, torn skin, and malnutrition, and said the woman may not survive. Chung and his sister left the hospital before Deputy Marcus Murray arrived. The deputy went to Chung’s home in the 10800 block of West Drive, where he lived with his mother, and Wilson said the home was in deplorable conditions. Neville Chung was arrested about 1:30 Tuesday morning for investigation of elder abuse, booked at West Valley Detention Center, with his bail set at $50,000.
A full house was on hand last night as the County hosted a meeting about Land Use Issues in Joshua Tree. Reporter Mike Lipsitz was there and files this report……
Nearly 100 people turned out for last night’s County-sponsored Community Open House in Joshua Tree. The meeting was a follow-up to one last September that had County Land Use Services on the hot seat for neglecting the Joshua Tree Community Plan in its application review process. In her opening remarks, County Planning Director, Terry Rahhal, said she thought community interests could best be met with more contact and real dialogue. And with that, the audience dispersed to engage County reps organized by department. Stations marked “General Plans and Community Plans,” drew much of the attention, while others focused on “Environmental Concerns and Renewable Energy.” Whether or not the exercise resolved any real issues isn’t known; what is clear is that the lively exchange was a step in the right direction.
Opponents of big solar are planning a protest Saturday afternoon in Joshua Tree. Opponents cite the threat to desert vistas, the demand on local water supplies, and the negative impact on tourism. The protest was originally conceived by members of the Morongo Basin Democratic Club, but was expanded to include other grass-roots organizations. The protest will be held at 1 p.m. in front of the County Government Building on the highway at White Feather Road in Joshua Tree, and is expected to last about two hours.
A meeting Saturday will discuss the future of the Twentynine Palms Fire Department. Reporter Taylor Thacker has more on the important workshop…
The Twentynine Palms Fire Department will hold a special workshop on Saturday, March 29,to decide the future of the Fire Department. The meeting is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. and the Board will hear the recommendations from the Citizens Advisory Committee Directors. Your input is needed at this meeting to discuss a potential tax measure to secure a sustainable revenue source for our local Fire Department. Everyone is invited and welcome to attend. This meeting takes place at the Water District office at 72401 Hatch Road in Twentynine Palms. For more information call 760-367-7546.
The CHP has released details of two off-highway vehicle crashes last weekend. Sunday, at 11:40 a.m., Gene Ciampa, 34, of Joshua Tree, was driving a 1976 dune buggy westbound in the open desert on BLM land east of Coyote Lake dry lake bed. Ciampa and passenger, Alisabeth Girten, 35, also of Joshua Tree, were ascending a small incline at approximately 5 miles per hour; Ciampa didn’t realize there was a steep drop-off into a ravine on the other side of the incline. The dune buggy went over the 40 foot drop-off and flipped onto its roof into the bottom. CHP Sergeant Turner was the first to arrive and provided medical aid to Girten until medical personnel arrived. Girten sustained life-threatening major head injuries and was flown by Sheriff’s helicopter to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. Ciampa sustained non-life-threatening injuries and refused treatment. Both Girten and Ciampa were wearing 5-point safety harnesses, however, they were not wearing helmets. Neither alcohol nor drugs are suspected factors of this collision.
Friday, Shonna Vincent, 37, and Kimberly Ronga-Gonzalez, 39, both of Yucca Valley, were riding a Honda ATV eastbound on Botkin Road in Landers. Vincent was driving at an unknown speed when the ATV collided with an Acura Integra driven by John Perry, 26, of Yucca Valley. Both Vincent and Ronga-Gonzalez were flown by Mercy Air to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs for broken bones. Vincent was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. Due to her injuries, Vincent was cited and released to the hospital.
Earlier this year, we reported that the spectacular and unique Doolittle home in Joshua Tree was up for sale. Dan Stork says, you’ve missed your chance…
At the end of January, it became know that the home of artist Beverly Doolittle and her husband Jay was on the market, priced at $3 million. The one-of-a-kind residence was designed for the Doolittles by architect Kendrick Bangs Kellogg. We’ve learned from a party close to the Doolittles that the house has been sold, in a cash deal. Reportedly, the buyer is one of the early Facebook employees.
A Yucca Valley High School senior has been named the recipient of Copper Mountain College’s 2014 Greenleaf Scholarship. Timothy Hesse of Joshua Tree was chosen to receive the all-inclusive scholarship, which pays tuition, books, fees, and living expenses while he is a student at Copper Mountain College. The scholarship will continue to pay those expenses while he completes his degree at a four-year college or university of his choice. Copper Mountain College will host an awards ceremony 5:30 p.m. April 10 in the Bell Center’s front foyer to honor Timothy Hesse and recognize the four other finalists for the Greenleaf Scholarship: Jacynda Guttierez, Crystalfaith Rickman, Katelyn Sage, and Karina Vanegas.
A local resident will be meeting and greeting and signing her latest book at Raven’s in Twentynine Palms Saturday. Managing Editor Tami Roleff has your invitation…..
First-time author and Twentynine Palms resident Kimberlee Fletcher will hold a book signing of her young adult novel, Liberty: Changing Leads, Saturday. Liberty: Changing Leads is the first book in a 3-part series of a young girl named Liberty who finds comfort in working on a horse farm away from the pressures of her freshman year of high school, and who uses her faith to help her overcome life’s obstacles. Kimberlee Fletcher will be at Raven’s Books, 69225 Twentynine Palms Highway, in Twentynine Palms from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 29.
The Elegant Junque Sale returns to Twentynine Palms Art Gallery this Saturday, March 29, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The annual fund-raising sale will be held on the gallery patio and will feature great bargains and treasures from the homes and studios of Twentynine Palms Artists Guild members, gallery artists and supporters. Anyone wishing to donate items for the sale can bring them to the gallery on Friday, March 28, between the hours of noon and 6 p.m. All proceeds from this annual fund-raising sale will go to support the maintenance and operation of the historic community gallery. Twentynine Palms Art Gallery is located off National Park Drive at 74055 Cottonwood Drive in Twentynine Palms. For more information call the gallery at 760-367-7819 or visit the gallery’s website at: www.29palmsartgallery.com
A holdover performance by the Twentynine Palms High School Theater Department, reporter, and performer Taylor Thacker has more…
Due to popular demand, the fantastically funny Twentynine Palms Musical, Forbidden Broadway, has been extended. The extra show is scheduled for Friday, March 28, and will take place in the Twentynine Palms High School MPR at 7:00 p.m. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The ticket price has been reduced to only $5 per person and tickets will be sold at the door. No dessert will be served. Don’t miss this last chance to see Forbidden Broadway!
A 1993 graduate of Yucca Valley High School will be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame June 1. Jeb Dougherty was a stand-out athlete at Yucca Valley High School in football and baseball, and earned All-CIF and All-State honors. Doughtery attended the University of San Diego where he garnered many awards, including Associated Press All-American and ESPN Academic All-American honors in football and baseball, and was inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame in 2007. Dougherty was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in 1997 and played professionally for four years. In Yucca Valley, Dougherty created the Yucca Valley High School College Club, an organization that assists student athletes to create positive options after high school and as a way to inspire, educate, and support students.
This weekend will mark the 56th annual Twentynine Palms Boys basketball tournament. Fourth through eighth-grade teams from all over the region will be playing Friday through Sunday at Twentynine Palms Junior and Senior High Schools and at the Bell Center at Copper Mountain College. A list of first games for Twentynine Palms-based teams is in this story at z1077fm.com
Friday Night Games:
4th Grade Girls Twentynine Palms versus YuccaValley 5:30 p.m. at Twentynine Palms Junior High
4th GradeBoysYuccaValley versus Blythe 6:30 p.m. at Twentynine Palms Junior High
6th Grade Girls Twentynine Palms versus YuccaValley 5:30 p.m. at Twentynine Palms High School
8th GradeGirlsYuccaValley versus Beaumont 6:30 p.m. at Twentynine Palms High School
6th Grade Boys Twentynine Palms versus Blythe 7:30 p.m. at Twentynine Palms High School
8th GradeBoysYuccaValley versus Beaumont 8:30 p.m. at Twentynine Palms High School
7th Grade Boys Twentynine Palms versus Yucca Valley 5:30 p.m. at Copper Mountain College
6th Grade Boys Twentynine Palms versus Beamont 6:30 p.m. at Copper Mountain College
8th Grade Girls Twentynine Palms versus Blythe 7:30 p.m. at Copper Mountain College
8th Grade Boy Twentynine Palms versus Blythe 8:30 p.m. at Copper Mountain College
Saturday Morning Games
4th Grade Boys Twentynine Palms versus Redondo Beach 9 a.m. at Twentynine Palms Junior High
Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School golf team will host Xavier Prep at home. Tee off is at 2:45 p.m.